Musical References to Catcher in the Rye- smileinc1120, foodfish, chairandtable, inuxattitudex80




The song “Catcher in the Rye” by Guns N Roses reveals a unique parallel to the novel by J.D. Salinger. The opening lyrics of the song capture one theme of the novel through the eyes of Holden Caulfield, the novel’s protagonist. The theme of preservation of youth and innocence manifests itself in certain parts of the song. The lyrics “that’s what the old folks say, but every time I’d see them, makes me wish I had a gun,” conveys the idea of thriving on innocence and not paying heed to the words of the ‘older folk’. Such images are present in lyrics throughout this song, forming a connection with the novel. Though the lyrics were not intended to form a direct congruence with the novel itself, they could be changed to more closely relate to the themes present in the novel, including the pain in aging and the idea of isolation for self-preservation.

This song explicitly connects to the theme and plot of the novel. The lyrics express a few of the major sentiments present in the novel as well as implicitly making references to the ducks in the wintertime and the kings lined up in the back row, which Holden associates with Jane’s checker game. The song captures the narrative and connects with Holden’s life through his tale in New York City, taking the long way back home. This slideshow presentation makes a visual connection to the narrative present in Salinger’s novel, and is set to the song “Holden Caufield” by Piebald.

Another Lonely Day by Ben Harper

In the song Another Lonely Day by Ben Harper, the first verse describes Holden Caulfield perfectly. When Ben Harper says that he is alone again and the emptiness is crashing in, it is exactly how Holden feels about Allie. It is evident that Holden adored Allie very much and his dying at such a young age visibly upsets Holden. Holden feels as though Allie wasn’t given a chance to live the life that he was supposed to. Later in the song, Ben Harper says “Cause the one I love today I hardly know you I held so close in my heart oh dear grow further from me.” This describes Holden’s feelings regarding his love for Jane. Unfortunately, he is forced to leave the school and does not have a chance to see her. Holden’s reaction when Stradlater talks about Jane make it clear that he has very strong feelings for her. Ben Harper’s lyrics also relate to Holden’s unmet desires. He says, “Wish there was something I could say or do I can resist anything But temptation from you But I’d rather walk alone than chase you around.” Holden demonstrates his love for Jane through his thoughts but not through his actions. So far in what I have read, Holden has not gone after Jane. He had a few nights left at Pencey Prep and could possibly find her yet he ventures to New York City. Holden is very isolated and keeps his feelings and emotions inside rather than releasing them.

Unwell by Matchbox Twenty

Hold on
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown
And I don’t know why…

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something

In the song Unwell by Matchbox Twenty, the first verse describes Holden Caufield the best. In the song, Matchbox Twenty describes a person who appears to have fewer friends than he would like to have, like Holden. The song says, “All day staring at the ceiling, making friends with shadows on my wall.” Although Holden may not actually do that, the idea that the characters main friends are his own shadows relates to him very well. In the novel, Holden is some sort of outcast, as it is shown in the opening chapters. Holden does not like to go the Pencey’s football games although he may meet people there who he can become friends with. Also, in the chorus, the singer talks about how he is feeling unwell, but he is not crazy. If someone were to stay with him and talk to him, he/she would realize who he really is. This also relates to Holden as well, as he is having many problems in his life at the moment, with him constantly failing out of school and his situation with both his parents and Jane. He is also flunking out of school, and has a fear of adult situations; all he wants to do is go back to when Allie is brother was alive. With that combination he is headed for a breakdown if he doesn’t get serious and try to move on. Holden may just need someone to comfort him and talk to him about what is going on in his life in order to get Holden back on track to where he wants to be in the future.







5 responses to “Musical References to Catcher in the Rye- smileinc1120, foodfish, chairandtable, inuxattitudex80

  1. ilikebutterflies

    This group’s blog is awesome. I would never have thought Unwell by Matchbox Twenty connected to the book. The slide show portrays the loneliness and depression that Holden is experiencing in the novel. I think that connected a book to a song makes it easier to relate to the events in the book. Song lyrics are poems that portray emotions and these songs express the tone of the book and the feelings that Holden is having as he embarks on his teenage years. Great job!

  2. I find this blog quite intrigueing because the connections made with Match Box Twenty as well as Ben Harpers songs were very well matched with the theme of Catcher in the Rye. When the lead singer says “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell, I know right now you can’t tell”, these particular lyrics in the MatchBox twenty song parallel and speak the mindset of Holden Caufield in a very straight forward way. Although some may say Holden was absolutely insane, others may claim his well being was only associated with his temporary mind set, which could coincide with Matchbox Twentys “Unwell”. I really enjoyed the slide show and the perfect choice of songs, especially Ben Harpers “Another lonely day”, because I love that song! Well Done!

  3. I was surprised by how some of these songs connected to this novel. I was very shocked by Unwell by Matchbox 20, but it really does connect. All of this songs are really good, I especially love Ben Harpers “Another Lonely day”, amazing song! All of the connections made are really great. Good job.

  4. By the way… that one is an assigned one… I forgot to write it 🙂

  5. i really really loved this blog! i loved the song choices, and i was surprised with how well the songs actually relate to the novel. I would have never put the songs to the novel on my own! But you guys did an awesome job with explaining each song choice, and i really like how you made an excerpt of the important lyrics, which helped me as a viewer understand which lines you were discussing. Awesome job!!!

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